Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Maine Idea

It’s funny how life provides moments of wonder and fortuitous opportunities seemingly for no reason other than chance.  My trip to Maine, specifically Acadia National Park along the jagged, rock coastline, was punctuated with sun and rain, hot and cold temperatures, strenuous hikes and restful solitude.  I chose from a bountiful menu of places to roam and sit amidst nature, sometimes at the top of it, while reflecting on my life which, at times, has mirrored the very yin and yang of this trip.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, however one looks at these things, two of the most scenic and challenging trails were closed, but only because peregrine falcons were nesting in the cliffs.  It reminded me of the wren that has been tending to a nest on my patio: I couldn’t hike where I wanted in Maine just as I sometimes sit captive and captivated by the bird back home.  The rain closed windows for longer hikes, yet I found breath-taking views on trails right in the back yard of the home I had rented adjacent to the park.  Much like the gale-buffeted birch and aspen in Acadia, we have to flex in the wind so not to break.

Yet there is no more evident realization that I need to appreciate the good times than when I returned home and fractured my shoulder falling on a trail run in North Park.  I had clambered over boulders and rocky shorelines, ascended and descended uneven, precarious trails in Maine without event.  Yet, on a level, dirt trail I have traveled innumerable times I stumbled over a little root and fell, putting me out of commission for weeks.

I’m frustrated by such a freak accident and I’m also forced to sit still while I heal – something I don’t do easily.  However, I don’t have a choice, so I’m choosing to use this time for introspection and to plan for my next adventure.  As I convalesce it’s evident that we aren’t in control of everything in our lives; in fact, I’m not sure we dictate anything without God’s approval.  I do know that when life isn’t working out the way we planned, that’s an opportunity to focus on what really matters: gratitude for everything in our lives.  I think I'll ponder that while watching the hatchling wrens grow up.

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